Tim Bontemps: What happens with Rudy Gobert in Utah. It…

Tim Bontemps: What happens with Rudy Gobert in Utah. It has been a good offseason for the Jazz, between reaching a deal with Jordan Clarkson, bringing back old friend Derrick Favors and securing Donovan Mitchell with a max contract extension. But with Gobert one year from unrestricted free agency, the final piece of Utah’s offseason will be trying to get Gobert signed to a contract extension to keep him with the franchise long-term. If they can’t reach an agreement, Gobert will become an intriguing trade target.
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But then on Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna), her AAU teammates (Alyssa Altobelli; Payton Chester), their parents (John and Keri Altobelli; Sarah Chester) and another one of their AAU basketball coaches (Christina Mauser) were among the nine people that died in a helicopter crash near the Santa Monica Mountains. They were on their way to an AAU basketball game at the facility Faulkner oversaw in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “The worst tragedy that we could have ever imagined happened,” Faulkner told USA TODAY Sports. “That changed everything.”
In between grieving and brainstorming sessions, however, Faulkner often looked out his window and saw countless Bryant fans leaving memorabilia outside the entrance of the facility. They laid bushels of flowers. They lit candles. They displayed Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 Lakers jerseys. They showcased framed photos of Bryant, who gave himself the nickname “The Black Mamba,” from throughout his 20-year NBA career. “It is something I will never forget the rest of my life with how powerful and impactful one person that Kobe Bryant could be,” Faulkner said. “From seeing all of humanity, there were no color barriers. There were no physical barriers. There were people in wheelchairs. There were people mentally challenged. There were superstar athletes. There were fathers and sons and mothers and daughters and whole families.”
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